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My Web My Way relaunch: more accessibility information

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Jonathan Hassell | 11:39 UK time, Tuesday, 26 April 2011

If you've visited the My Web My Way accessibility pages on BBC Online during the last few months you'll have seen a promo inviting users to preview a new version of the site.

This version revealed the beginnings of a more detailed and user-friendly My Web My Way, which I'm delighted to say has just launched in full.

My Web My Way is designed to educate audiences with accessibility needs about how to get the best out of the web - not just BBC Online - by using personalisation features in their browsers or operating systems, or using assistive technologies like screenreaders.

It's estimated that around 11 million adults have a form of disability and that this group tends towards 'heavy' media consumption - increasingly online. The BBC's sixth Public Purpose is to deliver the benefits of technology to the public, and this public must be as wide as possible. Because of this we've invested time in updating our accessibility information for the benefit of users with impairments - whether visual, hearing-related, motor-related or cognitive. Of course there are other providers of this kind of information, but to many the BBC is a trusted guide to the web.

So - what's changed?

Key features of the new My Web My Way are:

Improved signposting and easy-to-use main menu, helping users locate the right 'How to' guide for them based on their needs;

Introduction of informational videos within the guides which will live alongside transcripts of information;

A visual overhaul to increase alignment with other sections of BBC Online and updated user experience;

A 'jargon buster' which provides a definition of commonly-used terms relating to accessibility, disability, and computers in general;

Share functionality allowing users to spread awareness of helpful information.

Overall, My Web My Way is now a more detailed and up-to-date accessibility hub which should be easier for users to find their way through, ensuring they get the best from the web.

Jonathan Hassell is Head of Usability & Accessibility, BBC Future Media


  • Comment number 1.

    I noticed the guide to magnifying the screen in OS X (http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/magnify/computer/mac/os_x/index.shtml%29 omitted the easiest way to zoom - hold ctrl and scroll up to zoom in and down to zoom out (two-finger swipe up and down on MacBooks).

    The feature needs to be enabled in the Trackpad prefpane, but as far as I'm aware it is by default. It would be great if this method could be added.

  • Comment number 2.

    It's interesting that there is no WIA-ARIA markup used in the accessibility site.

  • Comment number 3.

    Jonathan, the accessibility features provided by BBC online really are best-in-class. Given the SABC crisis in South Africa, I think it'll be a long time before any such accessibility initiatives are implemented by the broadcaster locally. I'm glad the BBC pays more than just lip service to catering for the disabled.


  • Comment number 4.

    I think the informational videos are particularly useful - as is the jargon buster.. sometimes feel I may have a mental disability with some of the terminology that's used! Thanks for some much appreciated changes!

  • Comment number 5.

    The new My web My way pages are definitely more user-friendly and informative compared to the older ones.. thanks Jonathan

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    BBC's efforts with respect to improving access for the disabled is leading the path in the UK. Wish you guys would publish a guide defining best practice for other broadcasters and online publishers - really think the new additions are great and will help to include so many more people.

    Justin - partially hearing impaired and very grateful blogger!

  • Comment number 8.

    This e news Assist journalist by offering RSS feeds so that they haul to your website. Through this interested parties will get known that you have relevant release on the topic for, which they are searching for.

  • Comment number 9.

    Very glad to receive such positive feedback on our updated My Web My Way.

    Justin - with respect to your wish for the BBC to publish a guide defining best practice for other broadcasters and online publishers... We have done this, of sorts.

    Back in December 2010, I blogged about the launch of the new BS8878 Web accessibility code of practice (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2010/12/on_un_international_day_of_per.html%29 which is exactly such a guide. The reason the BBC contributed my time to the creation of this standard was to share our best practice with other website creators.

    If you'd like more information on the standard, check out my summary at: http://slidesha.re/gtRYSg.


  • Comment number 10.

    One way to make things easier for everyone is to remove petty and unnecessary restrictions. Such things as registering and logging in to post a comment are not required (you may like them, but storing my information leaves you open to losing it and me open to the effects of you losing it, as a matter of course I created a profile that the BBC are perfectly happy to allow me to log in with that is clearly fake - even down to my user name - so what is the point?). Without this and without logging on I could then post comments. You could then lift the ridiculously short character limit on most comment points. All of this would make accessibility by both able bodied and disabled simpler, and would also help for those surfing the site on a mobile or similar device).

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    It's always striking for me to see the differences in attitudes between the developed world and developing countries when it comes to disability and inclusion. I think it's more than just having the money to address their needs - it's about the will to do so.

    If one considers the various challenges of disability in Africa, the greatest one by far is that of cultural attitude. Until that changes, it's unlikely that any of the local broadcasters and media companies will consider it a worthwhile effort to include the disabled in their planning.

    Well done BBC - Jonathan, I only hope that the standards that you mention actually make their way to countries like Uganda where they are sorely needed.

    Anna (Social Issues blog)

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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